2016-07-27-BFP1569-ruleslawyer


1569 Rules Lawyer.

51 Comments

I’ve only ever heard the term rules lawyer in the context of Dungeons & Dragons, but it’s something that exists across most games where a human is in charge of the game’s rules. I know I met some who played Magic. I’ve argued the rules of Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Mall Madness… Even though I don’t know the rules very well. The key really is that you know the rules better than the person in charge of the rules and make them believe they are wrong. Some dungeon masters will tolerate no questioning of their authority. Generally speaking it’s understood that the DM is the final say regardless of the rules… but if a player makes it look like they are being unfair, well, a group can still apply pressure effectively that way. Rules lawyers are annoying when they aren’t on your side, and fantastic when they are, but they slow things down and eventually everyone gets tired of the constant bickering. Like most things in life moderation is key.
The memorization of rules is hardly uncommon. No matter how complex a rules system is there will be people who devote massive amounts of time to putting them to memory. This usually comes down to it being very important for that person to win arguments. Much like how people quote bible passages. The more they memorize the more important the feeling of being “right” is to them. Fairness as a concept is weirdly important in our culture in spite of how little it’s actually supported. Things need to seem fair to the parties immediately involved, or the ones in power at any given time. Typically fairness is touted by people in control while not actually being practiced. A veneer of fairness is important to keep people in line, which is why a rules lawyer agitating situations eventually becomes a problem for a system. Either the system has to change, or the agitator has to be disposed of.